If I may be permitted to be subjective for a moment and speak of the predicted Canadian elections, I would just like to echo many of the sentiments of my colleagues in saying that decorum is lacking in the current House affairs. That is, debates over bills, current issues, etc has all been reduced to nitpicking and petty insults that do not seek to further the cause at hand. Each party believes itself justified and only one has showed any remote interest in accommodating the demands of another juxtaposed party. Where is the wit in the insults on the floor? The art of the disguised and honourable reproach not the banal gutterals of a bulldog? Where is the respect for equals, the respect for the ability to argue tactfully, the respect for not selling principles cheaply to leap ahead? (Michael Chong comes to mind).

I’m also afraid I have committed a blunder on the campus scale. I must reinforce the following philosophy: One must never decide one’s vote for a political candidate based on their personal life, but always vote based on their platform and principles. The counterargument has been made that a tarnished social life may indeed affect the integrity of office if such a person is elected. This may be true in some cases, but for the most part, I have only to think of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Sarah Palin to think of examples where sex and pregnancy scandals should not affect the viability of their candidacy and strength of their platform. Pride comes before a fall and people love the fall as much as the rise of their greatest heroes. Enemies are always made.

Another point: Can a person do the right thing and still have poor intentions? For instance, the bloodthirsty soldier who fights in a just war. If his intent is unjust, are his actions then deemed unjust if they are done in self-defence or on behalf of the defence of his country? For as long as he does not kill beyond his mandate, everyone will laud him for doing the right thing, is that not so?

The Power to Think

I must apologize to my readers for neglecting my “search for truth” through these posts in the last few weeks. I was taking a Kierkegaardian leap of faith and living life passionately. Carpe Diem.

In any case, I wanted to contemplate the following article:, as well  as the fact that I am graduating in two months’ time. Critically evaluating education seems to be in order, even if it is a general analysis. I’ve been told to pursue my masters’ degree because an undergraduate degree gets you nowhere fast since you know so little and a doctorate actually does the same but that you know too much and can no longer be ideologically shaped. A desk job is what I want to avoid (though that’s impossible) and thus, the narrowing of focus/field for my brains is to my advantage. However, I still believe in pursuing education for the sake of the love of knowledge (philo-sophia) and Socratic/Platonic curiosity, which has been made evident by my blog. Also, the Millian idea of human development, that is, constant improvement of the self through the study of epistemological, ontological, and ethical realities providing interesting challenges to human existence with its rhetorical questions. In other words, it’s not always about the money.

In university, it is a race to find identity, though granted one has to be at a certain income level or social class to be able to enter university. Marginalized groups (gender, race) find expression, political and religious views are championed or cast off, and the process of maturation quickens with intellectual and experiential stimulation (though in some cases, I have seen it reversed). Is it really necessary to make this mad dash for authenticity of character? To try on and discard personas like underwear? That there will come a time when we become set in our ways?

And the last question is what worries me. Is university then a process of becoming set in one’s ways, of solidying the thought processes to think a certain way and to hallow that as the only way to think? That you were the best judge at 18-25 of what was the right way to think, judging from all the others presented? Knowledge should be a constant process of liberation, a constant emergence from Plato’s cave. One’s identity should change insofar as what we know is challenged and therefore, we must adapt to the new evidence.

However, the mad search for identity should ultimately be concerned with finding values/principles because there is a certain nobleness in holding ideals. Granted, ideals change within the framework of experience, but it is a test that looks at which are still left standing after one has weathered the annals of time. If none stand, then we can truly label it fickleness.

So how do we reconcile the constant thirst for knowledge and the authenticity of character? Should we pay homage to the university institution for giving us the tools to do so? As Foucault said, power is productive in its subjectivity. The university grants us the power to think – for our future employer, for our future thesis mentors, for our future clients, for our civil society/government.  At the same time, it is self-defeating in its power. My dearest hope is that it has also given us the power to think for ourselves.